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Ideology and Politics in the Middle East


Admission requirements

Requirement for BA in Modern Middle East track and successfully passed History of Middle East 1500-present or premaster students.


This course is an advanced survey of the impact of key ideological currents on Middle East politics from late 19th century to the present. It critically reviews how secular and religious ideologies have shaped and justified hegemonic and counterhegemonic political projects in the region. These include different forms of Turkish, Arab, Kurdish, Jewish, and Iranian nationalism to Islamist ideologies. By adopting a intellectual history approach, the course will also analyze the impact of global ideas and trends – such as enlightenment, colonialism, capitalism, democracy, and modernization as well as socialism and liberalism – on the politics and societies of the Middle East. The course will introduce theories of nationalism, concepts of political thought, and methods of intellectual history. The course relies on a review of secondary literature and translated primary sources of political thought.

Course objectives

The purpose of this course is to help students understand the ideological and intellectual trends of history of the modern Middle East, and to critically engage with existing explanations and theoretical approaches in the study of Middle Eastern politics.


Timetable BA MOS

Mode of instruction

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hrs
Lectures (13 x 2) 26
Study of compulsory literature and preparation exam 74
Assignment(s) (to do reading, research, writing, and preparing presentation) 40


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Sharing of reading material

  • Announcements and communication

Assessment method

Partial Assessment Weighing
Class attendance and Participation 20%
Presentation 30%
Take-home exam with open questions 50%

The course is an integrated whole. The take-home exam and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


There is only a resit opportunity for the take-home exam, which will count for 50%.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

  • A detailed syllabus with selected readings will be provided at the beginning of the term



Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. A.A. Yenen


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).